Wedding & Funeral.

Image-1-52On a Saturday a few months ago, Brett and I attended a wedding and a funeral.

It's a challenge to describe the beauty and depth of such paradoxical events. Whether you hate God or you love Him, it's awfully hard not to think about Him when death and love are so nearly intertwined in the same day. When I think about that Saturday I think about God and the word "PURPOSE" and how a lot of people in this world are looking for purpose. I think of how ironic it was that we sang the same song, "10,000 Reasons", a few hours apart at the grief-filled ceremony and the love-covenanted one. I think of our aesthetic and comforting need to have  flowers when we're happy and when we're sad.

 The funeral was for our friend Jacob's brother. Brett and I had never met his brother, however, Jacob was in our home group and, in my opinion, you don't just call your HomeGroup your "HomeGroup" because you meet in someone's house every Tuesday. Homegroup is about having people present to say "we care about you and are here for you when you are at the end of your rope or climbing your highest peak (Or just to encourage you and read the Bible on Tuesdays... whatever season we're all in)."

So Brett and I were there for Jacob. The funeral was everything it needed to be. As different neighbors, family members, and mentors talked about Jacob's brother we learned that his story was difficult to take in, and, depending on which way you look at it, tragic. His brother struggled for years to find purpose in life, often warring with two different personalities. We found ourselves crying for his family who fought to love him when they could and prayed for him when fighting wasn't an option anymore. We sang songs and people talked about how deaths like his are hard to understand, but how God's purpose is still valid and fiercely beautiful.

"And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come. Still my soul will sing your praise unending, 10,000 years and then forevermore."

The wedding was for one of my high school teachers/mentors, Kristen. Kristen is someone who has always said "I don't want to live my version of how I think life should go, I'd rather live Your version, God." Well, she's a human being so she probably hasn't always said that... she's probably really wanted her version a lot of the time, but from my observations, she's always lived her life in a sort of loving surrender that's contagious and admirable. Single was her tune for a long time, but she chose joy in her singleness and desired to get married, she just hadn't found the right person to marry.

"Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes."

When she told me she was dating someone (some "Steve" to be specific) she told me immediately that she knew he was her man. Her main man. She shared how her heart had also fallen for his sweet daughter and how marrying a guy with a daughter wasn't what she'd expected, but she couldn't be more excited about it because God's plan was better than hers. Her wedding was packed with her past and present students, family, and friends, some of which (myself definitely included) were literally jumping out of their seats to watch her exchange her vows and see Steve kiss her. Brett and I apparently sat in the "If you're happy and you know it" student section as they screamed and thunder clapped like they were at a pep-rally when that kiss happened.

"For all your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,000 Reasons that my Heart can Find".

I sat there with tears (for the millionth time that day) as they exited the church, husband and wife. I felt the weight of the funeral and wedding overwhelm me. I've said before that I think weddings are like heaven, because you're surrounded by those you love and cherish most, having such a great time. That day had me thinking of heaven in every bitter and sweet way. My young heart rejoiced at the relief I will know when I find myself in the presence of a loving God some day. Face to face. In a place beyond hurt, violence, and pain. Surrounded by love. How grateful I am in the present though; confident in my purpose: to be loved by God and to love God for the rest of my life. And I really do believe that. And it really gives me overwhelming peace. A peace I've watched others search for their entire lives. A peace that makes the depths of my soul sing, "Bless the Lord O my soul."

Stacie Stine

Design Jamboree, Denton, Texas, United States